Minneapolis Treasure: A Guide to Antiquing in the City of Lakes

Locals in Minneapolis, Minnesota, love their art and antiques, especially those that focus on Scandinavian culture. From library ladders to vintage jewelry, check out these hidden gems to find the best Minneapolis antique treasures.

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When it comes to adventure, you don’t have to jump head first out of a plane to have fun. Look beyond the extreme to find less dangerous adventure in antique treasure hunting. Few cities offer hidden gems like Minneapolis. The folks who live in the City of Lakes love art and antiques, and you’ll be ready to jump on the bandwagon after checking out some of the awesome antique and salvage shops. After all, who says treasure has to be shiny and new?

City Salvage

Antique treasures are cool — admit it, they are — and you can find everything from plumbing and bar fixtures to stained glass for your home at City Salvage. When you need cabinets, lighting, iron grates, or the perfect oak buffet for your dining room, don’t waste your time at a big box store. City Salvage is the place for browsing. The website shows some of the latest finds, but don’t rely solely on the internet; the in-person hunt is worth the trip. The inventory often includes goodies from around the Midwest. And, yes, they ship!

Up close view of vintage electric light bulbs hanging in a circle from an ornate light fixture in an antique shop in Minneapolis, MN

Architectural Antiques

The gems you uncover at Architectural Antiques come directly from buildings that were scheduled to be demolished. This cool salvage shop searches high and low to find all the goodies that fill the 25,000-square-foot shop. You can find anything from fireplace mantels to light fixtures and seriously cool built-ins. The store believes in the art of re-purposing architectural elements. One visit is all it takes to turn you into a believer. Not to mention, how cool is it to find hidden treasures that were literally snatched from the jaws of soon-to-be rubble? Like City Salvage, they ship your finds straight to your door.

Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Gifts

With exterior brick walls covered in colorful murals, Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Gifts is impossible to miss — and you sure don’t want to miss it. Offering shopping, culture, and classes, this charming, family-owned Nordic marketplace is more like a museum than a deli and gift shop. The shop rents bridal crowns from Norway and Sweden — now, that’s a standout bride! — and teaches crafts like knitting, needlework, and spoon carving. You can also learn about cultural traditions like Nordic Horn ceremonies and sheep shearing.

Ever heard of lefse, a Norwegian flatbread, or kransekake, a layered cake with ground almonds that looks a bit like a tan Christmas tree? You can learn to make them for yourself. As for shopping, the store dishes up a little of everything, from delicious meats and cheeses to clothing and crafts.

Bauer Brothers Salvage

If you’re looking for big items like windows, doors, fireplaces or even flooring, this is a must-see salvage shop. With about 93,000 square feet of shopping space, Bauer Brothers Salvage, Inc., is chock full of cool finds. Some is plain and simple; some is ornate; all is vintage and cool. For example, if you’re looking for a 90-foot glass pyramid, they might just have it. (Yes, they’ve actually carried a huge pyramid before.) If you want something a little more practical, they also have a large selection of stained glass windows, walk-in coolers, and library ladders.

Variety of hand-made vintage jewelry -  turquoise, onyx, green, pink and purple bracelets and necklaces - for sale in Minneapolis, MN


Looking for something smaller that you can tuck in your suitcase for the trip home? Consider checking out Victory, a sweet vintage gift shop run by longtime friends Susan Blankenship and Lisa Balke. You may even feel like you’ve been part of their adventures after browsing through all the vintage finds. In addition to vintage jewelry, they also carry stock from a number of local designers along with barware, clothing, and gifts that make fabulous alternatives to cheesy souvenirs!

Find other adventurous ideas for exploring nearby and faraway cities on our Facebook page.

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